"The downs can be really low ― and when you're in one, you have three choices: Leave, stay in a loveless marriage, or choose to love your spouse." Dr.
Jill Murray (author of writes that if someone mistreats you while professing to love you, remember: "Love is a behavior." A relationship thrives when partners are committed to behaving lovingly through continual, unconditional giving ― not only saying, "I love you," but showing it.
"Mom," she said hesitantly, "I really appreciate your feelings, but, in all honesty, how can you say you love someone you've never met?
At the end of the conversation, her mother said, "Darling, I want you to know we love you, and we love David." Susan was a bit dubious.
A woman I know once explained why she's been happily married for 25 years.
So I decided to try out the "giving leads to love" theory. A few days later I offered to help her with a personal problem. This is why your parents (who've given you more than you'll ever know) undoubtedly love you more than you love them, and you, in turn, will love your own children more than they'll love you.
True giving, as Erich Fromm points out, is other-oriented, and requires four elements.
The first is care, demonstrating active concern for the recipient's life and growth.
The second is responsibility, responding to his or her expressed and unexpressed needs (particularly, in an adult relationship, emotional needs).
The third is respect, "the ability to see a person as he [or she] is, to be aware of his [or her] unique individuality," and, consequently, wanting that person to "grow and unfold as he [or she] is." These three components all depend upon the fourth, knowledge.